A brightly-lit, empty sanatorium for party luminaries on New Year’s Eve, while the East German world outside is sunk in darkness – a young man named Robert seeks to find his way in a world that doesn’t want to be his home. Even when this world suddenly opens to the West. Even today.
Michael Schindhelm’s novel is the literary testimony of a generation on the search for its identity – in the East and West.
The goal had long since been destroyed; thusly Heiner Müller described the GDR in which Robert’s story begins. Everything is geared toward escaping one’s stalkers, not being compromised, remaining independent – and yet one is never alone, a stranger in one’s own land. A society that regulated everything under the sun, and yet increasingly went to seed. Tyranny and anarchy are close siblings. Robert’s life is a tightrope act, one that takes him upon a course entirely unexpected and frequently involuntary – to Voronezh in Russia, to the wild expanses of the Caucuses, to the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin, to all-consuming love affairs, and the loneliness of the family. Even when he finally manages to break into the West with Helena and his daughter Lisa, he has yet to reach his goal.
Despite success and a career, Robert only finds alienation through his new freedom, which now even threatens his personal happiness. Lisa, Helena, and Robert keep looking. Without movement, there’s no hope.
Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt (DVA), Munich – Stuttgart 2000
Hardcover, 320 pages
Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag (dtv), Munich 2002
Paperback, 314 pages
Available on Amazon.